All you need to know about air-to-air missile Astra

Shreya

New Delhi, Sep 18: Astra, an indigenously designed, all-weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile with a range of over 70 kilometres on Tuesday.

The state-of-the-art missile was launched from Sukhoi-30 MKI off the coast of Odisha as part of user trials by the Indian Air Force(IAF).

Designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the beyond visual range Astra missile is capable of engaging targets of different ranges and altitude, defence sources said.

The sophisticated missile has a strike range of over 70 km. It has a 15-kg high-explosive pre-fragmented warhead.

The live aerial target was engaged accurately demonstrating the capability of first indigenous air-to-air missile.

Noting that the mission profile was executed in a textbook manner, it said various radars, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and sensors tracked the missile and confirmed its engagement with target.

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO and IAF teams for the successful test.

Why India's Astra air-to-air missile is special

The Astra missile which is an indigenously developed sophisticated Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) has been developed by DRDO, with Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) as the lead laboratory. The (BVRAAM) technology enables fighter-pilots to shoot precisely at the enemy targets which are beyond their visual range.

The missile test was tracked by different Radars, Sensors and Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and confirmed that is successfully engaged with its target.

The Astra is capable of engaging targets of different ranges and altitudes including long-range as well as short-range targets. According to reports, the Astra missile can hit the target with a speed of over 5,500 kms per hour or 4.5 mach and can carry a payload / warhead of 15 kg. Astra missile has been described as a the most potent weapon system for IAF's combat aircrafts.

The DRDO reportedly plans to develop a new version of the Astra missile which would have a range of 300 kilometres.

India presently uses Russian air-to-air missiles on its fleet of frontline Su-30 fighters but plans to induct Israeli designed I-Derby and Astra missiles in the future.

IAF's Astra missile has some highly advanced features like Electronic Counter-Countermeasures or ECCM. This features enables Astra missile to overcome defensive measures put forth for the target by the enemy. Astra is extremely effective in a multi-target scenario.

With air-to-air missiles costing in the region of $2 million each, the Astra will provide major business opportunities to Indian firms.

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